THINK meeting your new work colleagues is scary?
Katherine Ellison, a summer recruit at Knowsley Safari Park, had a close encounter of the fiery kind on a guided tour of the park’s lion enclosure.
And as these incredible pictures show, 29-year-old Katherine definitely bit off more than she could chew!
Big cat lover Katherine, who has been working in the attraction’s education department during the summer, asked keepers to introduce her to some of the key members of the Knowsley pride which is now more than 20 strong.
But the lions began to take an unusual interest in the car she was travelling in as their head keeper and regular feeder Bill Wood was at the wheel.
As a result, the tables turned and rather than doing the viewing, Katherine found herself to be the object of the attention of a large group of kings and queens of the Knowsley jungle.
“It was really scary,” said Katherine, who is from St Helens.
“You just don’t realise how big adult lions are until you’re sitting inches away from them them in a small saloon car and they’re staring you in the face.”
“Having said this, one or two lions probably wouldn’t be too bad, but because of Bill’s presence we must have had eight or ten around the car at one point, and that’s when panic started to set in for me.
“Looking back though, it was a truly fantastic experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Park general manager David Ross added: “The opportunity to get ‘up close and personal’ with the big cats has always been one of the outstanding highlights of the safari experience here at Knowsley.
“It has to be said though that the current pride are a very lively bunch and as impressive as any in our 40-year history.”
YOU CAN’T HIDE THOSE LION EYES: Lions greet Katherine Ellison (pictured far left) as she arrived to work at Knowsley Safari Park